Practicioner of Gentlemanly Arts or Just A Smoker?

I will introduce this article not as a gentleman in the fashion with which you may be familiar. I am, by far, perhaps the furthest away from a gentlemanly appearance that one may get: I have hair long enough to braid, a goatee, some tattoos, I wear skull rings, I have a single earring in my left lobe, and I wear shorts and a t-shirt or blue jeans and a collared shirt when at work– I’m a low-income worker. My behavior towards others, however, is probably one of the few attributes I share with the traditional gentleman, alongside my fairly infrequent enjoyment of a cigar, proper English (in written fashion far better than my speaking skills would ever reveal), and I actually just recently happened upon a meerschaum pipe in an antique store which I now have used twice since purchasing it 4 days ago. You would be hard-pressed to hear me use foul language to even a minute degree. I can become irritated, yes, but that’s because of the population of customers at a casual fast food restaurant happen to share some behavioral characteristics found within the population of frequenters of McDonald’s and dollar stores. So, what brings all of this into the first paragraph of a terribly wide range of information?

This an be answered simply– each of these things happen to exist as experiences of my past and some of these things contradict each other. You don’t find people who don’t cuss who are also not religious; I am a spiritual atheist. You don’t find people who don’t become upset who are also subject to addictive habits, such as painkiller popping and drinking (although, last night, I did imbibe a beer for the first time in several weeks, so I’m definitely not the alcoholic you would have seen as recently as last year) because there were some family friends over for a barbecue (on a Monday. Go figure!). So, throughout all these qualities, what, you may be asking yourself, does this have anything to do with your title to the article?

I enjoy cigars. 2012 marked the year– I’m sorry, January 8th, 2012, to be very specific, marked the end of my chain-smoking cigarette habit. I had been smoking for 9 years. During my entire life, and especially during this period of time, I had been told that all tobacco is bad, end of story, period. I had also been told to enjoy all things in moderation, and this is a key to experiencing life in a way dissimilar to those people who have enjoyed longevity. So, my cigar-smoking habit isn’t really much less than splurging in one sitting? Well, it turns out that this is not true.

The common knowledge regarding cigarettes is simply this– they’re over-processed, they’re easily available in cartons for an affordable price, and this makes people more eager to keep them around, especially since it seems (from my experiences, and this may and will not hold true for 100% of the population) to be a comfort thing with which they wish not to part. Apparently, one cigar is the equivalent of ten cigarettes. It’s an addictive habit to those who have addictive personalities; that is, some people are innately predisposed to becoming addicted to any particular substance. Thus, the high-velocity intake of cigarettes causing lung cancer (again, this isn’t always true; look on Google for the 101-year-old smoker lighting her cigarette with her birthday candle) seems to affect a good majority of the population of smokers. Some simply lose their teeth. Wouldn’t it be safe to say that heavy smoking does have its effects on the human body?

Why, then, does not everyone who smokes have yellow teeth, prematurely wrinkled skin, poor posture, dry skin, and just about every bad image you may ever have had in association with smokers? The truth, in my opinion, is simply that these individuals have what is called control of their habits. Some are simply practitioners of arts to such a degree as to look classy while doing so. I can’t say that I look like a classy kind of guy when toking on a cigar or some cavendish out of my new / old pipe, but I do, in every respect, moderate all aspects of my smoking which, on some scale in some unknown part of the universe, is gentlemanly.

I am extremely happy to have ended my relationship with cigarettes permanently. They’re just a poor man’s source of tobacco, abused to the nth degree by a majority of people who seem not to have much else in having been educated in moderation of all things outside of having been simply lightly suggested. But much truth stems from this simple set of three words: “Moderation in everything.” I do enjoy my cigars. I do enjoy my pipe tobacco. But what I enjoy the most is the fact that my health is never going to be sacrificed due to addiction anymore. I’ve grown outside of my addictive habits and now I maintain full control over that which used to control me.